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The master of arts in leadership is designed for working professionals and provides a deep foundation of problem-based learning about leadership from many different perspectives. The program is entirely online. Participants can expect to finish the program in two years.

The master of arts can be applied to any field and is designed to help individuals explore how they are called to lead and can enhance their own ability to navigate personal leadership challenges. All participants will be mentored and will receive a high level of faculty support as they progress through the program.  The culmination of the master’s degree will be a capstone experience in which students enhance their leadership portfolios, implement (or further implement) a project within an organizational context, and demonstrate learning through a written product that integrates knowledge with courses.

Program Benefits

Advance your career

Earn a master's degree

Create a summative portfolio of work

Grow leadership abilities

Sharpen professional skills

Collaborate with a faculty mentor

Complete the program in two years

Implement a project within an organizational context

Application Deadline: May 1


Attend a free webinar. Registration options will be posted soon.

Wartburg College defines leadership as “taking responsibility for our communities and making them better through public action.”  Community, in this context, can be broadly defined to include employment community, a spiritual community, and a geographic community, etc. Understanding the relationship of your role in various communities is critical for personal satisfaction and effective leadership. 

  • Apply online through our free graduate application.
  • Submit an undergraduate transcript from a regionally accredited college/university.
  • Submit an online essay.
  • Submit letters of recommendation.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university.
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00* from degree-granting college/university.
  • A personal statement (1-3) pages which addresses the following topics:
            – Your education and professional experience and how this has prepared you for graduate study in leadership.
            – Your personal reflection on what makes you a good candidate for an advanced degree in leadership.
            – A basic overview of a change you’d like to see in your workplace or organization of interest and how this program might assist you in implementing that change.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume including any relevant educational and professional experience.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional references that must be received directly from references.  One letter should address the student’s leadership capabilities and ability to create positive change.  One letter should address the student’s ability to manage multiple priorities and be successful in academic pursuits.

*Students may be admitted on provisional status with a lower GPA.  Students on provisional status must obtain at least a 3.00 GPA after their first fall or winter term.

The program is designed to help individuals explore how they are called to lead and how they can enhance their own ability to navigate personal leadership challenges. The program will place a strong emphasis on application of the material in an applied setting (for example, the learner’s place of employment), starting with identifying and sharing a leadership challenge they are facing. Various course assignments and portfolio artifacts will be developed pertinent to the applied setting. The program will offer mentoring and a high level of support for individuals as they progress through the program.

The construction of a portfolio throughout the course offerings will serve as formative and summative documentation, which provides an integrative framework to the program as a whole. Each course contains assignments that comprise parts of the overall portfolio. Each learner will build a summative portfolio over the course of the program with advising from instructors.

Upon completion of the master’s degree, the learner will have demonstrated the following abilities and attributes:

  • Express a personal leadership identity, maximizing on personal effectiveness. 
  • Analyze complex environments and the need for change. 
  • Evaluate the role innovation and entrepreneurship play in organizational effectiveness within economic, social and political environments.
  • Develop knowledge, skills and commitments that foster stewardship of human and material resources. 
  • Translate the leadership development process through the creation of a portfolio reflective of the leadership journey. 
  • Articulate reflective analyses on what it means to live a life of purpose, distinguishing a life of success and a life of significance.


Course Credit


Time in Calendar

LDR490 Orientation to Leadership and Online Learning


4 wks


LDR500 Leadership Intensive Seminar: Integrating Mind, Body, Spirit


6 wks

Online intensive + 1st summer session

LDR510 Leadership Project Development


4 wks

2nd summer session

LDR520 Leadership History and Theory


7 wks

Fall Term, 1st 7 wks

LDR540 Leading Organizational Change & Innovation


7 wks

Fall Term, 2nd 7 wks

LDR575 Applied Leadership Project


7 wks

Winter Term, 1st 7 wks

LDR600 Portfolio Summary and Leadership Intensive


7 wks + Online Intensive

Winter Term, 2nd 7 weeks and online intensive

LDR625 Leadership Resource Management


7 wks

2nd Summer Session

LDR650 Communication Theory and Ethics


7 wks

Fall Term, 1st 7 wks

LDR675 Inclusive Leadership


7 wks

Fall Term, 2nd 7 wks

LDR700 Leadership Capstone


12 wks

Winter Term

Graduate School Questions:  Doug Koschmeder
Assistant Dean of the Faculty | (319) 352-8761 

Master of Arts in Leadership Questions: Michael Gleason 
Director of the Institute for Leadership Education | (319) 352-8758


Michael Gleason

Director of the Institute for Leadership Education/Associate Professor of Leadership

Brian Beckstrom

Dean of Spiritual Life/Moehlmann Chaplaincy Chair

Ashley Lang

Business Owner and Leadership Consultant

Theresa Moore

Assistant Director of the Institute for Leadership Education

Penni Pier

Professor of Journalism and Communication

Amy Pilcher

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Stephanie TeKippe

Associate Professor of Education